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Designing a Synthetic 3D-Printed Knee Cartilage: FEA Model, Micro-Structure and Mechanical Characteristics

Designing a Synthetic 3D-Printed Knee Cartilage: FEA Model, Micro-Structure and Mechanical Characteristics


Title: Designing a Synthetic 3D-Printed Knee Cartilage: FEA Model, Micro-Structure and Mechanical Characteristics
Author: Dolino, Gianmarco
Coato, Damiano
Forni, Riccardo
Boretti, Gabriele
Ciliberti, Federica Kiyomi
Gargiulo, Paolo   orcid.org/0000-0002-5049-4817
Date: 2024-01
Language: English
Scope: 16
University/Institute: Landspitali - The National University Hospital of Iceland
Department: Department of Engineering
Series: Applied Sciences (Switzerland); 14(1)
ISSN: 2076-3417
DOI: 10.3390/app14010331
Subject: Verkfræðingar; Vísindadeild
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11815/4737

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Citation:

Dolino , G , Coato , D , Forni , R , Boretti , G , Ciliberti , F K & Gargiulo , P 2024 , ' Designing a Synthetic 3D-Printed Knee Cartilage: FEA Model, Micro-Structure and Mechanical Characteristics ' , Applied Sciences (Switzerland) , vol. 14 , no. 1 . https://doi.org/10.3390/app14010331

Abstract:

Articular cartilage morphology and composition are essential factors in joint biomechanics, and their alteration is a crucial aspect of osteoarthritis (OA), a prevalent disease that causes pain and functional loss. This research focuses on developing patient-specific synthetic cartilage using innovative Digital Anatomy polymers. The objectives include investigating the morphology, characterizing the mechanical properties, and replicating the architecture of natural cartilage. This approach offers potential alternatives to traditional manufacturing methods and reduces the need for expensive in vivo experiments. Finite Element Analysis (FEA) validates a novel patient-specific measurement setup. It provides insights into the role of morphology in the distribution of stress and strain within cartilage. CAD design is also utilized to create standardized fiber-reinforced samples that mimic the layered micro-architecture of natural cartilage, allowing for the study of their contribution to the overall mechanical properties. The results demonstrate that 3D-printed polymers can effectively replicate the elastic properties of cartilage. The proposed patient-specific simulator produces reliable results, which have been validated through FEM analysis. While the recreated microstructure closely resembles biological cartilage samples, the elastic properties are slightly underestimated. In conclusion, designing an in silico knee joint is a feasible approach that offers numerous advantages for further development. The Young's modulus values of our synthetic cartilage modules range from 2.43 MPa to 7.24 MPa, within the range reported in the literature. Moreover, Young ' s modulus at the micro level shows the differences between surface 1.74 MPa and internal substrate 1.83 MPa depending on the fiber orientation. Finally, our model proves to be mechanically and morphologically accurate at both the macro and micro levels.

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